Don’t Use QR Codes on Tombstones!

static_qr_code_without_logoI had an experience a while ago that got me thinking about today’s tombstone technology and what it might be like in the future. A company that shall remain nameless asked that I write about the company’s product: long-lasting display plates containing QR codes. The company’s products can be attached by adhesive, either to a tombstone (which I am strongly against) or to an urn, marker, or other nearby object that can be inserted into the ground near the tombstone. (I can live with that second idea.)

NOTE: For an explanation of QR codes, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code.

The second part of the company’s product occurs when a future visitor to a cemetery uses a QR code reader in an Apple iPhone, Android phone, or similar mobile device to read the QR code. That person would use the device’s wireless wi-fi or cellular data Internet connection to display an associated web page that is stored on a web server someplace. This product requires the QR code to point to the dedicated web page on the company’s web server. Each QR code points to a different page on the server, and each page contains information supplied by the family that purchased the QR code display plate. That tribute page could either display information directly or redirect the visitor to another web site, such as a charity of the family’s choice or a family tree posted on some other web site.

At first, this sounds like a good idea; but, then I wondered, “What happens if the company goes out of business and their web site goes offline?” I assume the answer is that the customer has wasted the money he or she spent. While I hope this company remains in business for a long, long time, I still don’t like the idea of depending upon any one corporation’s future success.

QR_Code_on_a_tombstone

The discussion I had with a company rep revolved around a possible endorsement of the product from me. In return, the company would offer a discount to readers of this newsletter.

I declined the company’s offer, and I will explain why I am not offering discounts on this product to newsletter readers. The bottom line is that I don’t approve of this product as it presently exists. However, I will also offer explanations and describe three of my concerns. I will say that minor product changes could quickly remove my objections. However, I think I have an even better idea, which I will also describe.

In fact, I believe there is a better technology that can achieve the same results without the use of adhesives or any other method of defacing the tombstone.

First, there is the concept of attaching a QR code (or any other foreign object) directly to a tombstone. I am against that for a variety of reasons. When discussing historic tombstones, most tombstone scholars would be aghast at the idea of using adhesives or any other means to attach a new object to an existing tombstone.

NOTE: Adhesives are commonly used to repair broken tombstones. However, only certain types of adhesive are used because an improper chemical mix in the adhesive can actually accelerate the tombstone’s decay. Some adhesives also expand or contract with changes in temperature. That would hasten the destruction of the tombstone—the exact opposite of what was planned.

If you are thinking of using an adhesive of any sort on any tombstone for any purpose, please first consult with an expert who knows what to use and especially what not to use! Even then, adhesives are normally only used to restore a tombstone as closely as possible to its original condition, not to add new attachments.

I do think the use of a nearby “marker” of some sort is a good idea, however. In many cemeteries we already see in-ground markers or flags placed by veterans’ organizations, fraternal organizations, the Daughters of the American Revolution, church groups, and others. These nearby markers are subject to occasional theft or lawnmower damage, but most of them seem to remain in place for decades. If the item deteriorates or is stolen, it is easily replaced without damaging anything else. These markers make me think that a SEPARATE marker containing a QR code could be used in any cemeteries that allow separate markers.

Acceptable_use_of_a_qr_code

Acceptable use of a QR code

scanning_a_qr_codeMy second objection revolves around the question, “What web page or URL should the QR code point to?” I would never purchase a QR code marker that points to a corporation’s web site, even if that site then redirects the web browser elsewhere. The QR code should not be dependent upon the lifetime of any corporation.

I would prefer to have the QR code point directly to a web site of my choice, preferably to a web page that I own or control and a web site that I can pass on to one or more younger family members who can make sure it lasts until QR codes are replaced by some newer technology. To be sure, even pointing to one of my own web sites is an imperfect idea; but, at least it remains under my direct control. I like that better than depending upon some corporation where I have no control at all. If I have direct control and want to change the web page later, I can do so.

My third objection concerns technical longevity. While QR codes are a great solution today, I doubt if my grandchildren or great-grandchildren will use them. I’m reminded of the old proverb, “This too shall pass.” That’s another reason against permanently attaching anything to a tombstone: if the technology becomes obsolete, the tombstone is left with a permanently-attached memorial of someone’s failed use of the technology of that time. That would be embarrassing, even if the person who attached the foreign object has long since departed this world.

If a QR code becomes no longer relevant, a surviving family member could visit the grave and replace the QR code with something more useful. Of course, that can happen only if the QR code is NOT attached to the tombstone with some sort of permanent adhesive.

A Better Solution

In fact, I think I see a better technological solution on the horizon, a solution that is non-destructive and doesn’t require any attachments. It also doesn’t require an in-person visit to the cemetery by future “visitors.” It even solves the “problem” I have because all of my ancestors’ tombstones are buried in the snow for about four or five months every year. You may or may not have the same “problem.”

Tombstone experts have always questioned the practice of using any sort of adhesive to attach anything to a tombstone. Today’s smartphones have cameras and internal GPS receivers that make QR codes obsolete by replacing them with the one thing that never changes: latitude and longitude. In fact, future descendants and others can obtain the gravesite information without even visiting the cemetery, unlike a “solution” that requires an in-person visit to view and use QR codes.

Tombstone apps for BillionGraves.com and FindAGrave.com already provide cemetery visitors the power to easily find genealogical information about a deceased individual without the use of QR codes or other displays at the grave site. This is done when one volunteer visits the cemetery and snaps a quick photo of a particular gravesite’s monument from the app’s interface. (I assume the volunteer is not snapping pictures when snow obscures the information.) The photo normally includes longitude and latitude information embedded in the photo’s metadata, supplied by the mobile device’s internal GPS. That photo and its embedded information can then be uploaded to BillionGraves.com, FindAGrave.com, MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, WeRelate.org, a personal web page devoted to a deceased relative’s memory, or to any of hundreds of other web sites. In fact, it can be uploaded to ALL of those sites and even more, should the photographer wish to do so. As part of the upload, still more textual information can be added beyond the embedded metadata. This might include the exact location of the tombstone, complete with a picture, a transcription of the tombstone’s text, instructions on how to find the cemetery, and any other information as well as web link(s) the uploader wishes.

If enough people start using longitude and latitude information, I am sure dozens of similar apps will appear in the future. I also know of only one web site today that encourages the use of longitude and latitude information for tombstones: BillionGraves.com. FindAGrave.com also accepts latitude and longitude information but doesn’t require it. Many of the tombstones listed on FindAGrave.com do not have geographic coordinates listed. This could change quickly; if customers were to start asking for the capability to AUTOMATICALLY record the coordinates already stored in a smartphone at the moment a picture is taken, I bet dozens of web sites would soon add new search capabilities.

A smartphone or any desktop or laptop computer could then access the online photo and its included metadata. Any app COULD (in the future) instantly recognize the exact tombstone in question and then display all known information about the stone and the person it commemorates. If the first page were to contain links to the individual’s information stored on other web sites, such as on BillionGraves.com, FindAGrave.com, MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, or others, the person viewing the information could easily click to visit those additional sources of information.

Once the longitude and latitude information is automatically extracted from each picture’s metadata, I would envision the possibility of also clicking on an option that says, “Display nearby tombstones” or something similar. That would simplify the search for possible relatives of the first person, even in the largest of cemeteries. Today you can find lots of web sites that list a cemetery’s tombstones alphabetically, but very few of them will provide a listing of nearby tombstones. However, that capability would be simple to add if all tombstones’ longitude and latitude information were included as searchable database fields. That information already is embedded in most iPhone and Android photos and can be added to photos taken by a number of other cameras as well.

Theoretically, this information also could be added manually, but I wouldn’t want to do that to hundreds of photos at a time. That would be a tedious task! It’s much better to let technology perform mundane tasks for us. Let’s use cameras that embed that information for us automatically. Most of today’s smartphone cameras already do that anyway.

This technology should work when the information seeker is in the cemetery as well as when at home or at other locations. If used while in a cemetery, the process is simple. Since today’s smartphones usually include a GPS, an app written for that smartphone or tablet computer could easily determine where you are located and then show you information about nearby tombstones, more information than what is engraved on each stone. If you are at home or elsewhere when you use the app, you would have to enter the name or the latitude and longitude of each cemetery of interest. Perhaps the app would also automatically look up the cemetery’s name as well as its latitude and longitude.

The result should be nearly instant identification of any recorded tombstone from any location in the world, accompanied by all known information about the person buried there. That will even work in mid-winter as a personal visit should not be required. All of this can be done without attaching any foreign devices or adhesives to the tombstone.

I would love to go to a web site and say, “Show me all the tombstones containing the word ‘Eastman’ in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Bangor, Maine, plus all tombstones located within twenty feet of an Eastman tombstone.” The required technology is already available today. All we need is customer demand to encourage the programmers.

In summary, I doubt if any technology will last more than ten or twenty years. While QR codes are a great solution today, I doubt if my grandchildren or great-grandchildren will use them. I am sure an even better technology of some sort will eventually replace QR codes. I wouldn’t mind adding a QR code to a small marker that is nearby, but not attached to, a tombstone. However, let’s recognize that this would still be a short-term solution. (When talking about tombstones, “short term” means ten or twenty years.)

I will suggest that the use of latitude and longitude will probably never change and is also non-destructive to the memorials. Even if latitude and longitude were to drop out of favor at some future date, a web site containing that information could easily be converted to use whatever new location identification methods become popular in the future. Using latitude and longitude also allows for searches for information without a personal visit to a (distant) cemetery. I doubt if the use of longitude and latitude will be perfect forever, but it sure sounds good to me for use in the next few decades.

When documenting the past, let’s also look to the future to make sure information will always be available as easily as possible, limited only by our abilities to predict future technologies. And let’s make sure we don’t deface any tombstones!

47 Comments

I totally agree with you- do not attach anything to a tombstone, and, having latitude and longitude more accessible would be good.

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This is fairly absurd. One should do nothing to a historic monument or a monument they don’t own. That said people can do whatever they want to their own or to a monument they are paying for. Following this advise one can’t have a ceramic cab with a portrait or many other things I’ve seen like a cut and polished Petoskey stone attached to a monument. A separate marker would violate some cemetery rules that will vary but, a separate marker isn’t likely to last a year before it is “relocated” by a lawn mower. 200 years from now a small QR code may fall off but the damage it may do will be ridiculously insignificant. The greater danger is that 200 years from now no one will be carrying the technology needed to read it. For now what is important is that people do whatever it is that makes them happy.

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If many of those “QR codes on a stick” were used, I think cemeteries would ban all of them, because it would make ground maintenance a real problem. Think about that. And they would be unsightly.

There are not so many of those veterans emblems on a metal rod used, so they are tolerated. Flags are temporary and used mostly for patriotic holidays. Many cemeteries are going to flat markers only for ground maintenance.

I agree about adding anything to a gravestone. No! Definitely not!

But there is an “attachment” to one of my ancestor’s markers. Lewis Stephen Tuttle #12196 has a stone dove place on his stone in the Andersonville Memorial Cemetery in Georgia. No one knows for sure who placed it there, and there it remains. Spectulation abounds.

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    —> If many of those “QR codes on a stick” were used, I think cemeteries would ban all of them, because it would make ground maintenance a real problem.

    That is one of the reasons I suggest we all stop using QR codes and switch to using latitude and longitude instead. The technology is already available today and is cheaper and more reliable than making placards with QR codes.

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Only problem I see with putting freestanding QR codes on stakes is mowing around them.

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    —> Only problem I see with putting freestanding QR codes on stakes is mowing around them.

    That is one of the reasons I suggest we all stop using QR codes and switch to using latitude and longitude instead. The technology is already available today and is cheaper and more reliable than making placards with QR codes.

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Of course if all cemeteries ensured that all plots had a plot number (and discrete marker) and they maintained proper registers (preferably on-line) other markers would not be necessary.

The Cemetery / Plot Number would be a unique key that any other application / register could use – as long as the patent trolls stay away.

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I agree QR codes will definitely be obsolete at some point. Your idea of using Lat/Long as a unique identifier works in many situations, but not ones where stones are so close together they do not have separate identifiers. And even using Lat/Long still presents your second objection – you have to rely on the longevity and stability of whatever company is hosting the photo and metadata. (not trying to be negative – I agree that your solution is better than the other one, but it doesn’t address all three concerns.)

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    —> And even using Lat/Long still presents your second objection – you have to rely on the longevity and stability of whatever company is hosting the photo and metadata.

    I would respectfully disagree. If I am the person who controls the web site and also control the URL that is referenced in the QR code and if the hosting company I chose disappears for some reason, it would be simple to switch to a different hosting company and make a new web page there. I would control the URL and can change it to point to a different hosting company at any time.

    Let’s say the URL points to: http://www.smithfamily.com/john_smith and I own the domain name of “smithfamily.com.” I can switch that address to a different hosting company at any time without any need to change the QR code.

    I have already changed the hosting company for this newsletter several times over the years. I have made the URL of http://www.eogn.com point to several different hosting companies over the years. The process to do that is simple.

    However, if we use latitude and longitude in place of QR codes, the whole conversation becomes moot.

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Happy new year and thanks for your thoughts. As you say the GPS technology is here to stay. My take on this very personal matter is something that should be done at the time of burial. Once the burial site has been chosen by the family and cemetery and the site has been visited, have the cemetery company, that keeps the records of the location and all of the deceased records, use the GPS co-ordinates and add them to their records. They could then very easily send this info to BillionGraves.com, FindAGrave.com. This would give everyone access to this information, 24/7 and 365 days a year no matter what the weather was.

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I would like to add a couple of thoughts on this subject. One is that it is great that Billion Graves and FAG have these websites and we should hurry (as a community) to take as many photos of as many graves as we can as soon as we can, because headstones disappear!. And inscriptions fade to be unreadable! We are all aware of stones in inventories of cemeteries from even as recently as 50 years ago are not to be found now. Or, as the years go by, the inscription becomes more & more unreadable. The QRS won’t help with these issues! Getting those photos into one of these repositories as soon as possible will help to at least keep a photo of a stone as it is today. The second thought I’d suggest is that folks shouldn’t be hindered from taking a second photo of a headstone, even if one is already up on a web repository. Because the lighting on an outdoor grave can change depending on the time of day and time of year. There are lots of examples of photos on these repositories where the face of the stone is in shadow and unreadable.

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    I agree with taking a second or even a third or fourth photo, different seasons, times of day, years, all create a different photo and some are easier to read than others. Some people, as they get older have a problem reading depending on the light and some of the photos are hard to read for them, speaking from experience. I always encourage more than one photo, some from different angles and some from different times. And please, don’t just post them on one site, post them on several good sites just in case one should go dark, you don’t want to lose them. Happy New Year to you all.

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Forgive me, but: QR codes have been dying for a while now. People just don’t want to use them. So why would a company make that their focus? That just seems like a terrible business plan, not to mention a way to make stones look really tacky.

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I strongly suggest everyone photograph gravestones of their family and enter them on Find a Grave or BillionGraves since they can be accessed by people all over the world without the limitations of actually being at the cemetery. Take time to attach the relationship if known and you have created a useful memorial to these folks.

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Great article! I personally participated in the QR industry for several years and and found that there were much better and ways to utilize more advanced technology to accomplish the same thing and more. This is where BillionGraves came into play with it’s GPS location on each stone. This technology was tested on our LegacyTech Mobile app (Which has been replaced by the FamilySearch mobile app) and will be a part of the BillionGraves app in the future.
Here is a link to the demonstration of the replacement technology for requiring any kind of material to be placed on the stone:

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My brother & I had a military emblem attached to our father’s gravestone through the U.S. government. Should I be worried about it destroying the stone?

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    —> Should I be worried about it destroying the stone?

    That depends upon the type of adhesive used to attach the emblem. In any case, it has already been attached and attempting to remove it might cause still further damage. I would not remove it until after talking with a tombstone expert who understands the various types of adhesives that might be used.

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GPS also works a little better for those unmarked graves.

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I agree with your comments about QR codes on tombstones. However, you mention SmartPhones favorably – similarly to the comments made in the past about 8-inch floppy disks, 5-1/4″ floppy disks, and magnetic tape drives. Using my crystal ball, I foresee all mechanical or electronic devices will, some day, become technologically obsolete. Sorry guys, even i-pads and smartphones. They will become as obsolete as DOS 3.2 and Charles Babbage’s mechanical computing machine.

What will take the smartphone’s place? That gives us something to look forward to in our old age.

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    —> Using my crystal ball, I foresee all mechanical or electronic devices will, some day, become technologically obsolete.

    Yes, but there is a simple solution: copy the data occasionally to more modern media.

    I never lost anything that was important from the old floppy disks or anything else. Every few years, I copied the important stuff to whatever newer media was popular at the time, and then copied it again and again every few years after that. I still have a few documents that were created years ago on 8-inch floppy disks. I will do that again and again for as long as I live and I expect my heirs will do the same for all the old family photographs and genealogy information that I have stored today. There is no reason to ever lose any important data if the owner of that data is paying attention.

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I agree totally with what you are saying. I wish that I had put the GPS add-on into my camera before we took the pictures for one of the largest cemeteries in the county. If wishes were horses . . . But where you were talking about locating graves around the photo, remember that the GPS is going to locate WHERE THE CAMERA IS and NOT precisely where the stone is. We had originally planned on using a handheld GPS unit that we could place on the tombstone, but our recording system changed and we did not follow through with that; again, hindsight is 100%. I assume there would not be a great deal of difference in where the camera is and where the stone is relative to the GPS coordinates, but perhaps that distinction should be made, though hopefully none of us is planning on bombing the stones from our properly registered drone.

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Dick, you say “the one thing that never changes: latitude and longitude”. Historically thqt is not precisely correct. In some parts of Austrlia AGD66 (Australian Geodetic Datum1966) is more than 100 metres different to AGD84 and more recent ones.The problem is that this planet is not a sphere, and that makes the creation of a model that accurately represents the shape of the planet, a complicated task. Hopefully any future revisions of the geod model will result in far smaller changes to the Lat & Long of a spot on the surface, than have revisions in the past, so hopefully co-ordinates taken today will be close enough for future generations to locate a grave.
I use RootsMagic, and it allows me to record Lat & Long, but my criticism of it and other records of GPS data is that there is no dedicated field for one to record the coordinate system used for the measurement – did I use GDA94, WGS84, or some other system? If my descendants know that, they can easily look up conversion calculators.
That said, Lat and Long are a superior location method, and something with better inbuilt longevity, than most or all others, so I agree with your comments.

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    I also wrote, ” Even if latitude and longitude were to drop out of favor at some future date, a web site containing that information could easily be converted to use whatever new location identification methods become popular in the future.” The point is that latitude and longitude, even if it is not perfect, is still more accurate and more useful than any other system I have ever heard of.

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I’m not sure that I want to be bar coded. It reminds me of those Sy-Fy movies where everyone wears the same clothes and uses a number for a name. The human factor is gone.

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    I mean you can argue that after you die no one will be seeing you, so for most people you’re faceless anyway

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One point that no one has considered is. If someone is visiting a cemetery and sees a name that they would like to research or get more history on. The QR code will give them access to images and a story. Details that they may not be able to find anywhere else.

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Using Latitude and Longitude is a neat idea but cell phone GPS’s are not accurate enough on their own to differentiate the location of one headstone from another. It would be very easy for 20 closely spaced headstones to be reported with the same latitude and longitude based on phone GPS data. On average, they are accurate to about 8 meters ( http://communityhealthmaps.nlm.nih.gov/2014/07/07/how-accurate-is-the-gps-on-my-smart-phone-part-2/) You can fit a lot of graves within an 8 meter circle. Based on this, I don’t see it being used as a unique identifier/locator. Now this data would be good enough to lead you to the physical area in the cemetery where you would be likely to find the physical stone. If a cemetery, itself, provided this data based on their own surveying for laying out the plots, then it should be much more accurate. So let’s say you got the accuracy issue resolved, what do we do about multiple family members being on one stone? Depending on how records are kept, there would often be more than one person tied to the same location. That may or may not be an issue.

Will GPS for civilians get more accurate, not likely accurate enough, as the military adds error for civilian use. It is accurate enough for things like Google Maps and your car navigation because that mapping software is more than just a map applying GPS locations, it also includes logic that says, okay, we think you are here based on the GPS, but that would but you slightly across the guard rail, so let use our computer programming to show you lined up with this vector line that we have in the map going down the center of a lane and lets assume you are actually in the lane and not on the shoulder because our calculations show you moving at 60mph. This is based on accurate maps of all the roads. Likewise, a cemetery would have to be accurately mapped by whomever runs it for this to work via cell phone. Not saying it can’t happen, but it would take a lot of cooperation from cemetery operators.

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    I think an 8 meter circle would be more than close enough for most genealogy purposes.

    When visiting a cemetery to find a tombstone, I cannot imagine I would be unable to walk 8 meters to find the correct stone.

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Truth be told, I think I see a superior mechanical arrangement coming soon, an answer that is non-ruinous and doesn’t require any connections. It likewise doesn’t require an in-person visit to the graveyard by future “guests.” It even tackles the “issue” I have in light of the fact that the greater part of my precursors’ gravestones are covered in the snow for around four or five months consistently. You could possibly have the same “issue.”

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The most recent comment on this page is several months old, so not sure why this article has suddenly come. However, for some years I have been thinking about how one records the location of family history items so they can be found centuries later. Latitude and longitude seem the best idea I have encountered, but some thought is necessary how it is done.
Basically, the best idea is to do it automatically, using a well-designed bit of software, that saves all the necessary info, to a long-lasting repository.
Lat & Long is only part of the info you need. You also need to record the co-ordinate system used in the measurement. There is more than a 100 metre difference between the ADG66 (Australian Geodetic Datum 1966) and GDA84. A 100 m error in the co-ords means you won’t find the grave. Fortunately the differences between other more recent datums is much less, and I suspect we are now getting to a point where most Apps, cameras etc use the same system – I hope so, but make sure you know what your camera is using.
Q2) does the camera record the location of the object it is photographing, or the position where the photo is taken?
Q3) How accurate is the GPS system on the camera? Not only what GPS systems is it detecting, but how precise is the hardware in the camera? My mid-range Android picks up the GPS and GLONASS satellites, but not others like Galileo. Next time I buy a phone I will try to get better hardware. But when purchasing, it is hard to find specifications on what systems it detects, and how accurate.
And of course accuracy varies due to a number of factors. What satellites are accessible at the time of measurement, is a tree or building restricting the “view” of the satellites, and many other factors?
Q3) Is the measurement system used being recorded?
Q4) When someone uses your location data in a century’s time,
has continental drift been taken into account? If someone uses an App in the year 2100 to access one of my readings, and sets his/her App to WGA84, will that App look at the date the reading was taken, and correct for drift? I don;t know. Various parts of Australia are drifting in different directions at different speeds, eg 5 mm/year towards eastern Asia. In a century’s time that won’t quite be enough to miss a frave, but in 200 years it will. And as Australia is quite geologically stable, what about continents that are less stable?
One of the Apps I am using shows not only how many satellites it can see and how many it used in calculating coords, but it also gives an error estimate (often 3 m). So far, my measurements of survey marks have shown that error estimate is OK. I suggest you alternate measurements of locations of graves, buildings or what ever, with check measurements of known survey marks, assuming you can find such data.
Basically, if you want to create records that will have meaning for the long term, some thought needs to go into how they are created.

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    Very good point about the continental drift. Hopefully in the future people will have access to a simple GPS calculator which can take such factors into account and give you a revised location based on the date the GPS data was recorded. Too bad we don’t have GPS info from our great-great-great-great-grandparents or we could do that for their graves now!

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Alan Lefford – Great idea and I have the same problem with long term WEB providers. Do you know if there are any equivalent sites in the UK?
Best regards
Alan

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I have seen this type of thing and it looks like more of a fad than a technology that will stay. I would be a shame to put something on a headstone that will link to something that may go away over time.

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Why not let Google search the name on the grave marker. Especially if you also include the birth and death dates. Checkout what I did for my mom. Copy and paste into Google
Stella Marie Zukowski (1918 – 1999) Memories should be more important than location.

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Well, one thing about the QRC code is you could put it to a wiki of the person. Or even s facebook page. Or ancestors page info

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Your short term your proposals make sense. Longer term, 50 or more years, you run into the problem that some location on the Earth are drifting faster than others and the Lat/Long will tend to drift by as much as a meter or two. Take a look at the Open Geospatial Consortium for new standards that are being developed to handle this issue.

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> 50 or more years, …… the Lat/Long will tend to drift by as much as a meter or two
Or, if you are talking about the Australian tectonic plate, 3 metres in 50 years (about 20 feet per century)

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I was going through this to setup and prepay grandma’s stuff, and I was thinking too that the QR code thing would probably go the way of floppy disks. There is probably one in 100,000 that attach any information, so you would need something to designate there is more information information available even if it isn’t a QR code. If you wanted to do something short-term, you could make your own QR stick-on code which is replaceable to point to a web site. I did some test queries with FindAGrave.com, MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, and WeRelate.org, and none off them know squat. You can’t even find old obituaries on line in the old obituary sites so my take is this is still in its infancy, and nobody is going to sign up for Ancestry.com to check on what MIGHT be connected to a head stone. QR codes from services designed for this cost $199 forever, but with technology forever is not very long.

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    Your QR comment is well taken and we all know how fast technology changes. Why not consider using HonorLife.com and their Rayzist system to blast all the words of your published obituary directly into the granite stone surface. It will be for thousands of years.
    Here is a link to see the finished stone. https://memkpr.com/bio/1748

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    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the link. That definitely has its place on a monument. My thoughts are that in the near future your phone’s OCR will figure out it is a marker, query Google, and Google, and find the information if there is any out there, no matter where it is hosted, as well as the reverse to tell you where a grave is and its GPS location. From there you can access video, voice, pictures, and documents, that would include the immediate family tree in both directions. Moreover, it will be information that is available whether or not you physically visit the grave site, as would be the case with acquaintances in remote locations.

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Thanks Jack for your input.
Moving from Florida to Salt Lake City, UT revealed the stack of boxes I had in my garage filled with mom’s memories. Toss them or move them? What would mom want me to do?
I could hear her voice…”Raymond don’t you dare think of throwing my memories away!”
I give my mom full credit for being the inspiration behind MemKpr. http://www.sep.me/1yo

Jack, your thoughts will be correct and available for future searches on the Internet IF each of us will do something the the boxes, albums and memories left with us. Let’s treasure those memories and help encourage each other to take loving action for our past family members.
Ray Z
MemKpr.com

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Okay so I read this article and some of the comments and I’m leaving this comment because I think QR codes can be really useful technology in historic cemeteries. I’m doing my undergrad research on one such cemetery in the town where I go to school, which is the final resting place of the town’s founders and numerous other important figures to both the town and nationally. My research determines that it is absolutely crucial that something is implemented to make the cemetery’s history more accessible and interesting for people of the town and the college. Putting QR code signs by major graves (i.e., most of them) would be, I argue, one of the best ways to make this history available. As for being unsightly, I think it’s worse to see a cemetery in decline because no one cares about those people who have been dead for decades- this was a major issue in my cemetery for most of the 20th century. Addressing the concern of the author as to “depending on one corporation,” it would be simple to make a wikipedia page for each grave- I don’t think wikipedia is going anywhere anytime soon. I just wanted to share because I believe this could be a really great way to make local history relevant to where people want to learn about it.

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    Pete, Your comment of; Putting QR code signs by major graves is the best ways to make history available.
    I would fully agree with you, but finding the families who know the stories of those in the graves might take some real effort. Maybe Funeral Homes need to encourage families to write the stories of their loved one and start a new trend?
    A company called HonorLife.com in California is able to sandblast the entire obituary right into the granite stone, lasting for thousands of years. No need for a QR code.
    Check out MemKpr.com and view their Nuggets.
    Thanks,
    Ray

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